Six Feet Under: A Lesson in Loss and Grieving

Starting today until next Friday, I have designated this TV week. Not that this really affects any of you… except maybe some of you who I hope are still reading? Anyway, this will be, like, a graveyard of some of my favorite TV shows. I’m just now realizing the odd choice of words since I decided to kick off the week with “Six Feet Under”…

“Six feet Under” is probably the most ill-fitting in this category because this wasn’t really a show that ended before its time. While it was around, it was a much beloved series which is why it’s sort of odd for me to enjoy it. It’s not this aversion to the “popular” thing to do. I mean, how middle school emo would that be? I just find that I usually have a different sensibility or sense of humor than most people. I usually go for something different, but “Six feet Under” is one of those shows I just couldn’t deny myself.

I remember when it first came out, I didn’t have HBO and neither did most of my friends so we’d have to wait till a season came out on DVD and pace ourselves because we all knew it would be a LONG time before we had more of it to watch. Jacob Haney and I would watch intently as the events on screen unfolded before us. However, like all good things, it comes time for them to end. I was choked up at the end of the series, but I was done. I was ready to move out of Wyoming and move on with my life and oddly enough, the series finale had me hopeful for that.

Revisiting the series 5 years after its end may seem kind of random to some folks. Hell, it even seemed random to me, but it was one of those things, I found myself with a lot of free time and no one eager to hire a young writer so what else was there to do? I remembered bits and pieces, usually more of the eccentric stuff like the occasional dance number, but by and large, it was a new experience to me. I don’t want to say that I’ve matured since I first watched it or anything maudlin like that, but I can honestly say, it re-awakened me to what good writing and good acting could do.

To say “life and death are universal” is not only an understatement, it’s pretentious as hell. The way that these topics were approached in the series, with such complexity, reminded me of why I loved the show in the first place. Sure, there are some absolutely hilarious parts and some depressing parts as well, but the sincerity of the show is what’s most captivating on an emotional level. As with every show, I saw a little bit of myself in these characters, but more importantly, I grew with these characters. It sounds so new age-y, but I defy anyone to watch the complete series of “Six Feet Under” and not have an emotional experience. It’s just plain fact.

As I watched the series finale yesterday, with two other guys in the room, I’m not even ashamed to admit, I was a mess. Not, like, blubbering and snotting, but the end of the series just leaves you feeling kind of emotionally drained and feeling sort of heavy. Don’t worry, for people who haven’t seen the series, I’m not going to ruin the ending, but suffice it to say, it’s powerful. It’s emotional in a way that’s indescribable. It’s honest and heartbreaking.

For those of you who haven’t watched the series, I cannot recommend it highly enough. It’s dark and at times depressing, but strangely life-affirming. I don’t know if that just means I’m susceptible or easily influenced or if others agree. Regardless, “Six Feet Under” is a reminder of what life and death is in the most realistic way. Sure, some of the deaths are out there, but there is never a doubt in my mind, in the writing and the acting, that the emotion is sincere.

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One thought on “Six Feet Under: A Lesson in Loss and Grieving

  1. Very good article. I missed it on HBO too, but had the good fortune of having access to all the DVDs at once. The movie Gamer, with all of its flaws and over-the-topness, brings back fond memories of the Michael C Hall dance routine. Give it a try just for him.

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